Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Open Business Principle 4: Sharability

As I add each new blogpost in the series on the 10 Principles of Open Business at the 90:10 Group site, I'm sharing the essence, a link, and a little background here on my personal blog.

Our fourth Principle of Open Business is one which would be easy to mistake for a simply tactical implementation: Sharability.

Packaging knowledge for easy and open sharing both internally and externally
Here's an excerpt:
...Sharability is as much an organisational design principle as Networked Organisation since there must be a cultural/philosophical recognition of the value of sharing over hoarding.

The antithesis of an organisation built on the principle of Sharability is one which is built on the principle of Secrecy.
It’s likely there will be one or two things about the way your organisation does or makes something which is unique, or at the very least so special that it gives you a perceived competitive advantage over rivals.
But, if you are honest, these very few special things are worthy only of pockets of secrecy – rather than the cultures of secrecy they are too often allowed to generate.
In such cultures the belief is that the competitive advantage is not in the best fit with the needs of the market, but in the delivery of the fastest first approximation. 

Cultures driven by the principle of Sharability are more likely to value best fit over first approximation.
At the turn of the last decade I wrote a post called 2020 Vision in which I conclude: "By 2020 a person's worth will be valued by what they share, not what they keep. That may be the most significant shift of all."

Being able to value sharing over hoarding is hard for many. It challenges long-cherished and assumed value centres such as 'ownership' tests the true value of 'intellectual property' and the often ingrained culture of 'not-invented-here'.

In Western business culture this aligns with a macho approach: I hunted it, I killed it, I eat it. But we know that isn't how we ever lived - and perhaps that tells us that its how we never should.
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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?